USF community learns 'The Art of Living'

By Briana Naseer, CORRESPONDENT
On March 4, 2013

Shan Tiwari has been teaching yoga at USF at a class in the Rec Center since 2005, but she has been an Art of Living instructor and a yogi, or yoga practitioner for much
longer.

Founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Art of Living is a volunteer-run organization that focuses on spiritual and humanitarian education that works toward the goal of a violence-free and stress-free world. Instructors such as Shan do volunteer work and offer courses to teach stress-management.

The foundation has locations in more than 150 countries, ranging from Canada to Israel to Brazil, and does non-profit work, such as trauma relief and disaster preparedness, in all of them, and now the class is coming to USF World.

The course, offered to both students and faculty, costs $250, but there are also free weekly stress management workshops whenever there is time and a room, Tiwari said.

Courses begin after spring break: Thursday and Friday, March 21 and 22, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24, from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Room numbers are TBA, but the course will take place on campus. About 40 people can sign up for one course, and as of now all spots are open. Registration is online at secure.artofliving.org.

Its a phenomenal course, Tiwari said.

While the courses offered through the Art of Living foundation work with spirituality, it is not centric to one religion.

It doesnt matter. Everyone wants to feel that peace, Tiwari said. Andwhatever religion you practice, it takes you deeper because the mind isclearer.

The course available on campus focuses mostly on breathing andmeditation, and unlike yoga, does not integrate yoga positions or physicalexercise. When the mind is agitated, you cant connect and feel free,Tiwari said.

The course takes one through several breathing exercises, called Sudarshan Kriya, followed by meditation.

Through breathing, Tiwari said hopes that participants will have more mental clarity and be able to wholly focus onliving rather than worrying.

We have the capacity to use 80 percent of our breath, but we only use about 33 percent of it, Tiwari said. Breathing more holistically allows the prana, from the Sanskrit for life,meaning life force, to increase, so those who practice it wont be as irritable or angry, she said.

When the prana level is higher, the mind is more resilient. You are morejoyful, Tiwari said.

Heaven Marculis, a junior majoring in psychology said she originally took an Art of Living course after a difficult fall semester.

I was in over my head in obligations, work, and an extensive school load, she said.

She was taking six classes andworking 20 hours a week, which left herfeeling mentally and physically drained.

Marculis decided to make a change after she experienced a terrible panicattack.

I have never been more scared, she said.

She took Tiwaris yoga classon-campus and learned how to control both her body and mind when stressbegan to take over. Shan introduced her to yoga philosophy and the Art of Living foundation and at first, Marculis found the price to be a bit much for a college students budget.

My mind began to settle, said Marculis. My life not only turned around but became the life I always wanted to live.

Tiwari taught Marculis breathingtechniques and which she enjoyed so much that she took a meditationcourse next.

I began feeling deeply happy energetic for the first time in years, andclear-headed. Marculis said.

For more information, Tiwari can be contacted at yogishan108@yahoo.com.

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